Ramayana (September, 2018)
One of the goals of life is to achieve everlasting happiness. Be it any action we undertake, any word we speak, or any thought we harbor, we are continuously seeking a state of blissfulness. But, often, that state seems to elude us. In fact, even during the most cherished events of life, such as marriage of a family member or achieving long-held goal, true happiness seems to be missing. So, what is the root cause of our miseries? Our vices, lower quality of our thoughts, and lack of contemplation/introspection and resolution to improve are a few key reasons. Covering in the monthly assignments, we have spent almost two years understanding the intricacies of different vices and flaws of human nature. To ensure we are able to identify those vices, in the next couple of months, we will analyze various events from various Indian epics. Kids will be focusing on how different flaws and faults resulted in unfortunate outcomes for the involved and generations after that.
This month’s article is to analyze events from Ramayana. Kids will pick one or more incidents from Ramayana and analyze them based upon the learnings of the past two years.
Here is an example incident: Lord Rama was exiled to jungle for 14 years. King Dashratha had three wives: Kaushalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi. Even though Rama was born of queen Kaushalya, all three queens loved him like their real son. Upon learning that Rama was to be crowned as the king of Ayodhya, all of them were extremely excited and thrilled. At that moment, however, Kaikeyi fell prey to the schemes of her maid Manthara. In order to secure her own position in the kingdom, Manthara was continuously filling Kaikeyi’s mind with the feelings of insecurities and jealousy. When those feelings completely gripped her mind, Kaikeyi demanded 14-year exile for Rama. Even though her desire was fulfilled, the act resulted in a dreaded outcome for her: one, her son did not become king; two, her husband, Dashratha, died of the pain, leaving her a widow; and, three, she was subjected to societal ridicule and abandonment for life. Even to date, parents do not name their daughter Kaikeyi.
Despite being queen for whom everything was going right, Kaikeyi landed in a miserable state because she had at least two flaws: first, she didn’t pay attention to the nature of her company (Manthara was a bad company), and second, she was blinded by excessive love (मोह) for her son.
If a queen could end up in a sorry state for two seemingly innocent flaws, it only behooves us to always stay wary of different vices. Even a single vice can make us fall for life.
Please share a few Ramayana incidents with kids and let them analyze the events on their own. As such, this assignment also provides for an opportunity to apprise kids of the great epic Ramayana.
I am looking forward to hearing kids’ insightful interpretations and analysis.